By Josiah Clark
Artivational, a collaborate group which consists of N.C. filmmakers and the founding members of the Boone-based international production company Wonderland Woods, LLC swept the awards for Asheville’s renown 48 Hour Film Project in June.
Their film, Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, which was written, shot and filmed in 48-hours as per the contest rules, trumped 30 other teams to win Best Film of 2015, Best Cinematography, Best Writing, Best Use of Character and Best Graphics.
According to contest rules, each group who competed in the 48 Hour Film Project was assigned a genre and told to craft a 4-7 minute film which centered around the fictitious characters Adriana or Andrew Elwood.
Hair Today Gone Tomorrow tells the story of Adriana Elwood, a visionary who is seeking crowd funding to kick-start a major project. The group Artivational was instructed to make their film a comedy.
Wonderland Woods, LLC was founded by Paul Halluch, Eitan Abramowitz and Jerry Sebastian, all three accomplished world travelers and high school friends who collectively fell in love with film at young ages.
“We met with our group Artivational in Hickory after being assigned our genre, and immediately started brainstorming ideas,” said Abramowitz, the editor, producer and videographer for Wonderland Woods, LLC.
After winning 5 different awards for Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, Artivational was selected to represent the city of Asheville at Filmapalooza 2016, and chosen to attend the world-renown Cannes Film Festival next May.
Wonderland Woods, LLC was founded after Halluch, Abramowitz and Sebastian saw the need for an independent production company in the High Country. All three of them, aged 23, are avid travelers, but chose to base their company in Boone.
Halluch, who directed Hair Today Gone Tomorrow, said, “Out of everywhere we’ve been to in the world, Boone is our favorite place by far to live and call home. It can get really crazy out in the field sometimes, and this is a place where we can find our inner peace.”
“Before, we only lived in big cities like Miami, where we grew up. Boone offered us something we just didn’t have before,” said Abramowitz.
Since starting Wonderland Woods, LLC, the three filmmakers have traveled to over 40 countries to do documentary and humanitarian work.
Using art to give back to their community is a central focus of Wonderland Woods, LLC., and by partnering with local sponsors such as Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Boone Community Network and Wine to Water, they were allowed to grow and focus on humanitarian projects and drawing attention to local businesses through commercials.
“We’re really thankful that the folks at Appalachian Mountain Brewery believed in us early on, and in return we’ve been working with them and showcasing the amazing work we’ve been doing with their help,” said Halluch.
They also have plans to develop a production company based on a sustainable business model.
After winning the 48 Hour Film Project, Wonderland Woods, LLC attracted the attention of Dean Lyon, a visual effects guru whose resume includes the Lord of the Rings films, Independence Day and Armageddon.
“We’re looking to partner up with Lyon and build a sustainable production company powered through sustainable sources,” said Halluch.
In the meantime, the founders of Wonderland Woods, LLC are enjoying their recent success with Artivational, and take nothing for granted.
“In the end, it’s all about the stories we tell,” said Abramowitz.
“We want to make the world a better place, one film at a time,” added Halluch.
Visit the Facebook Page for Artivational, who won five awards, including Best Film of 2015, at Asheville’s 48 Hour Film Project last June.